1. #1
    Forum Member
    PAVolunteer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Dauphin County, PA

    Default Why don't they call? What are they waiting for?

    This is a quote from the Firehouse.com front page stories on the LODD's in Oregon.
    Owner Kim Macfee said he and employees noticed a light smoke in the store shortly after 1 p.m. After checking the building's rooftop, Macfee said he thought nothing was wrong, but the smoke continued to grow.
    Why didn't they call earlier? Would the outcome have been that much better had the call been made 45 minutes ealier ... if the fire would not have had an extra 45 minutes of preburn? It is a horrible tragedy whenever we lose brother firemen. To think that it could have been prevented this easily makes it even worse.

    We had a 3 alarm fire where, in a multi-occupancy commercial building, a store tenant smelled smoke, called the management company, but they refused to come open the access to the attic. Four hours later and the whole place is up.

    Another example, homeowner's house is struck by lightning. One hour later, he doesn't understand why his fire alarm system won't stop going off, so he disconnects the power supply. Two hours later ...

    So, why don't they call? What are they waiting for?

    Stay Safe

  2. #2
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    May 2002


    We had a call for an apartment fire a few months ago. Ended up being a fatal fire and when the ME did his thing, he found that the guy's watch had stopped 20 minutes before we even got a call. There was only 1 911 call for that fire, the landlord who was called by a few of the tenants who complained that the fire alarm was going off. What does the landlord do? Calls the station.... picks up a phone book, looks up the number and calls the station! There was only 1 guy at the station, so he told her to call 911. 10 min later, we get the page.

    We've had a lot of problems with this appartment complex. People hear the fire alarm and lock themselves in their appartments and put towels around the door so they can go back to eating their TV dinners and watching their favorite programs. Then they get mad when we come barging in and force their doors open to evacuate everyone.

    There is something seriously wrong when people don't call 911 to report smoke, or a funny smell, or even *gasp* a fire. If you ask why they didn't pick up the phone and call, they tell you that they "didn't want to bother the firefighters". People don't seem to understand that it's our job (yes, even the volunteers) and we like to put out fires or investigate smoke and funny smells. No one's gonna point fingers and laugh at you for calling in something that turns out to be a false alarm if you were genuinely concerned about a possibility of fire.

    People don't seem to understand the destructive force of fire and the lives they could save if they would just pick up the phone and dial 911.

  3. #3
    Forum Member
    TCFire's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Lockport, New York


    A $64K question....had a similar situation several years ago. Family smelled smoke, even heard a crackling noise!, but waited over 30 mins before calling. Got there and found the attic above the kitchen was roaring, flashed over as our first-in team started in through the door. Needless to say we lost the house. Fire was caused by a crack in a woodstove thimble that traveled up the wall and into the attic (balloon construction). When I asked why they waited, they said "gee we couldnt find anything so we didn't call".

    Maybe they're the same people who call in MVA's and tell the 911 center that they don't think there are any injuries? You get the call 10 mins later after the deputy arrives and finds that a garbage truck has run over a full size Buick, have one entrapment, and the truck continued through a yard and struck the house while taking down the electrical service which is live and draped over the truck! True Story!

    Please...bother me. I'd much rather go home after finding nothing than starting behind the 8 ball!

  4. #4
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Sep 2001


    i think that since sept 11th that people dont want to bother the fd with small things like smoke investigation or funny smells. they think that some depts have better things to do(some do some dont).
    "Let's Roll." Todd Beamer 9/11 first soldier in the war on terror

    "I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America. And to the republic for which it stands ONE NATION UNDER GOD indivisible,with liberty, and justice for all.

    I.A.C.O.J. Probie and darn proud of it.

  5. #5
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Feb 2000
    Here and There


    We too have the problem of people calling the station vs calling 911, or showing up at the door with a medical problem (then they find out that we're vollies and no one's around, or the ambulance is on a run and they just got themselves farther from the next due).
    On a similar note, our dispatch will 'code green' (cancel) us if the homeowner calls back and says the alarm was set off in error or they 'put the fire out.' On one of these, I disregarded and continued in. Found some extension from a chimney fire in the rafters and we did some overhaul before it got a chance to do anyting.
    For car accidents though, on the plus side for potential victims, we get dispatched and continue until it is confirmed there are no injuries (we get a lot of drive-by callers). On the down side, our dispatch will accept the word of untrained bystanders that there is no entrapment (which to them means that the car isn't tristed like a pretzel) and not page out, or cancel, rescue. The ambulance then shows up to find a car in the middle of the highway, with a 300 pound guy in a Geo, with a door that won't open all the way, and needs to be KED'd.

  6. #6
    55 Years & Still Rolling
    hwoods's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Glenn Dale Md, Heart of the P.G. County Fire Belt....

    Unhappy Everybody, everywhere,.........

    Lack of common sense prevails all over the world (at least I think so)99.9% of american citizens look out the window and see someone pointing a gun at their home, and they are on the phone screaming for the cops, usually within 3 seconds. Daily, Fire is proven to be as deadly as firearms, but people try to ignore it, often with fatal results. This past Sunday (11-24-02) While my department (Glenn Dale VFD, PG Co.) was hosting the annual convention meeting of the Maryland Fire Chiefs Association, we got a house fire. Sunday afternoon , sunny day, nice neighborhood, lots of folks home and outside, and this 2 1/2 story frame single family had fire blowing out 2 first floor windows. A neighbor told me "I smelled smoke in my home 2 doors down the street (also downwind) and started looking around, went outside and heavy smoke was blowing down the street. He (the homeowner) was spraying his hose on it" This guy had a room off and he was trying to knock it with a garden hose??? This happens all too often, everywhere. Luckily, nothing serious beyond a $100,000 loss and two minor injuries. The homeowner was transported for smoke inhalation and one firefighter has a very minor burn. We also found 2 discharged extingushers in the house. This guy will not be recruited for our VFD, anybody trying that type of attack is dangerous. We had a lot of spectators, and, as always, I worked the crowd as much as I could, asking questions, answering questions, and dispensing safety advice. This type of thing seems to work as far as getting to the neighbors with the right information on how important that call to 911 is, and that speed (in calling) is everything. Stay Safe....
    Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
    In memory of
    Chief Earle W. Woods, 1912 - 1997
    Asst. Chief John R. Woods Sr. 1937 - 2006

    IACOJ Budget Analyst

    I Refuse to be a Spectator. If I come to the Game, I'm Playing.


Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts

Log in

Click here to log in or register